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day 29: coffee + books = heaven

let’s face it. there is nothing better than coffee and books together. they go together like peanut butter and jelly. like peas and carrots. like tom and jerry. don’t ya think? i certainly do. so, to get my week started off right, i decided to head downtown to malaprops... THE bookstore in asheville. a staple in asheville’s cultural and artsy scene. an independent bookstore, a supporter of local authors,  an advocate for peace & equality & coexistence, and a community-oriented gathering place. but, it’s not just a funky, cool bookstore with lots of books of all kinds  – mainstream, and not so mainstream. it’s also a cafe. and it’s a cafe that encourages sitting down, sipping coffee, and reading books.

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malaprops is serious about reading. and education. and peace. you can tell by the signs in their windows, huh? the bookstore/cafe combo is located on the corner of haywood and walnut right smack in the middle of everything. you can most always find a lone person strumming a guitar or a banjo outside the store, belting his or her heart out. of course, it’s just a common to find a trio or so with their fiddles and banjos and conga drums beating some bluegrass as you walk by. it’s all part of that amazing asheville scene that i’m always telling you about.

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malaprops unapologetically invites people in to experience the amazing journey that comes from reading. there are several book clubs that meet during the week, reading everything from the latest hits to local literature to obscure, offensive, and banned books. i am seriously planning to join one of these book clubs sometime soon. totally. don’t you think it’s just amazing to sit and discuss books, hearing all different kinds of perspectives and opinions?

they also have authors come for workshops and/or book signings quite often. just a month ago, i got a book at malapropos, read (most) of it, and then went to hear the author speak one sunday afternoon. and it was COOL. the cafe was open and i ordered a latte. then, i sat down with my journal, pen, and the book ready to soak up the wisdom the author had to offer. then, i got her to sign my book and she gave me her phone number, telling me to call her to discuss some of the parts i was interested in further & more personally). double freaking COOL. this is the kind of place malapropos is… it’s about connecting people, using literature to inspire and bring about change, and lifting up people.

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today i was really excited to visit malaprops knowing that my purpose was to experience anew, so i could write this post for y’all… when you enter the doors, after standing outside and “window-shopping” and reading all of the posters and cool things in the windows, you always see a table with books right in front of you. well, you see books everywhere. and it’s all so warm and inviting. or maybe it’s just me and my obsession with bookstores.

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and then, to the left, is the cafe. which is quite a large space, actually. there are stools, tables, outlets for computer cords, and book and trinket displays. this is where they have book readings and workshops as well. it’s no tiny, little place at all. it is a full-fledged cafe that is part of the bookstore.

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today, i went up to the counter and ordered a coffee as soon as i walked in. i knew that i was going to sit and just enjoy the atmosphere, no stress about finding a book or anything. this was all about observing and being. as usual, there were people sitting quietly reading alone. others were sitting together, looking at their computer screens, having lively conversation, or having a business meeting. i ordered the “special” for the day, which is always written on the black espresso machine at the counter. today it was pumpkin spice mocha. sounds gross, huh? i thought so, but it was de-double-lish.

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most of the time, i admit that i sit down with my computer and do some surfing or whatever. but, today, in honor of malaprops, the bookstore, i took out the current book i am reading (which i found in the local section a few weeks ago) and just read. it was so great. so calming and peaceful. i just sat and read. and read and sat.

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until i decided i needed to wander around… not a good idea. why? because i always, always, always, find a book or two or ten that i simply must have. strike that. that i need. today, it was books on buddhism. i have a little eastern spirituality obsession going on in my life right now. however, i resisted the temptation and only looked at the books. (i did make a note of the titles for future reference. wink wink.).

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what you’ll find in malaprops is a little it of everything and everyone. yes, it is a hippie, leftist magnet. but, it’s loved by locals and tourists. it s a funky, must-see place if you are just passing through. but, it’s also a haven for asheville area residents. i mean, who can blame everyone? a place that promotes education, equality, acceptance, and challenges us all to read and think and be a little more than we have in the past… now, that’s my kinda place. plus, there’s the whole coffee thing too.

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namaste. /liz

malaprops. 55 haywood street . asheville, nc. 28801 www.malaprops.com

About Liz McGuire

Liz is a blogger, writer, and amateur photographer in Asheville, NC. She is a returning expat, re-adjusting to American life after living in Sweden for the past three years. On any given day you can find her planning her next adventure with her wife, blogging away on her blog (www.belovelive.com) about daily life and social issues, and discovering little hidden gems and secret places in the city. She faithfully totes her camera and her coffee mug everywhere she goes. And she’s always up for a conversation about spirituality, politics, or other taboo topics. You can find her on the web at www.belovelive.com.

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